Why YOU Should Learn Spanish
It’s 2019. The internet has given us so many more connections than we ever dreamed possible. News travels the globe in just minutes. We can interact with people from other countries and cultures—that is, if we have a common language. English is definitely considered an international language, but frankly, knowing only English will weaken your influence in the global community. Are you hoping to learn a second language, but can’t quite decide which is best? Check out these top 6 reasons to start with Spanish!
1. It’s the Second Most Spoken Language in the World
You may be surprised by this as a lot of people think that Spanish isn’t that common worldwide. However, in terms of native speakers, Spanish ranks number two as the most spoken language in the world.
The first is Chinese, of course, with about 1.2 billion native speakers, or 15.6% of the world population. Spanish takes the silver with 400 million native speakers, or 5.2% of the population. In third place, we have English, at 360 million native speakers, or 4.7%.
What About Non-Native Speakers?
English is the international language of business and commerce, and as such, a vast majority of affairs are conducted in English by non-native speakers. This propels English to come in at a close second, next to Chinese, with almost 1 billion speakers. In this case, Spanish gets bumped down to number 4, with 527 million native and non-native speakers.
Quality or Quantity
If you are trying to pick a language to learn to be able to communicate with a large portion of the population, it would make sense to learn either Chinese or Spanish. But, let’s face it— you’re here because Spanish has that special *something* about it, doesn’t it?
2. It’s Super Easy to Learn
Spanish is special and magnetic because it’s easy to learn for a native English speaker. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has created a ranking system to show how long it would take a native English speaker to reach a proficiency level in each language and Spanish ranks as a Category 1.
What’s a Category 1 Language?
Category 1 languages are closely related to English and take about 575-600 hours to reach proficiency. Before you say that’s a lot of time, Category 5 languages, such as Chinese and Arabic, take about 2200 hours to reach proficiency!
Which Other Languages Are Category 1?
In this first category we see romance languages like French, Italian, and, of course, Spanish. Similar to English, the alphabet, sentence structure, and basic grammar rules are not so foreign as to be difficult to learn. Even the vocabulary is sometimes so comparable that you may get confused about whether you’re using the English or Spanish spelling.
Is It Really That Easy?
When I first started learning Spanish, I was amazed by how much I actually understood. I could assume the meaning of vocabulary that I had never learned just because of its similarity to English.
Now, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. There are some difficult aspects to any language. However, if we compare some of the other world languages, Spanish starts to look a lot easier—even with that tricky subjunctive tense and all those verb conjugations.
3. You Can Talk to a Growing Population of Spanish-Speakers in the US
We’ve established that Spanish is one of the most common languages in the world and that it is fairly easy to learn. But, why should you decide to learn it instead of Dutch or Portuguese (which also fall into Category 1)?
Well, it’s close to home. The vast majority of the countries in North and South America speaks Spanish. It’s not like Spanish is spoken only in a remote country on the other side of the world. No. It is spoken in over a dozen countries that neighbor the US, and the number of speakers in the US is growing each year.
How Many People Speak Spanish in the USA?
As of 2015, there were 53 million Spanish speakers in the United States alone. That’s 16.5% of the population. In 2017, Hispanics accounted for over 18% of the population, and that number is expected to increase by 1% every 5 years.
Use Spanish Right Away
Spanish is all around us. It makes sense logically to learn Spanish as a second language so that we can communicate with 18% of our country’s population. Why spend hundreds of hours learning a foreign language you may never use when Spanish is becoming so prevalent right here in our own country?
4. You Can Travel to Your Favorite Exotic Destinations
Of course, not everyone wants to stay in the States. I completely understand that—I started traveling at 16! When you do decide to take your trip, prepare yourself well. Speaking at least a little bit of the native language is important. Knowing how to show respect and talk to locals is the key to survive in a foreign country. It’s frustrating to be in a foreign country without the skills to ask for what you need. Or, try having a conversation with the person sitting next to you when you don’t know more than 10 words. Trust me, it’s not fun!
Where to Go?
Over 20 countries and territories speak Spanish worldwide—there’s even a country in Africa that speaks Spanish! It’s pretty clear: if you are itching to see the world, start learning some Spanish. It will take you to North America, South America, Europe, and even Africa! Whether you are traveling for work, pleasure, or education, speaking Spanish gives you so many more choices on where to go.
5. It Opens You Up to New Cultural Traditions and Experiences
So many places in the world speak Spanish as its official language and the cultural traditions are just as varied as the dialects, architecture, and music. If you took Spanish in school, you may have learned a bit about Mexican culture, with Day of the Dead and Cinco de Mayo. However, more than a dozen other countries and territories speak Spanish. If you decide to reach your potential and learn this language, you will gain access to amazing and fascinating cultures. Learning Spanish isn’t just about learning vocabulary and grammar, it’s so much more.
“A different language is a different vision of life.”– Federico Fellini
It Changes You
One of the most interesting things I’ve noticed about being bilingual is how I change when I speak Spanish. The way I express myself, how I think about things, how I communicate—it all changes depending on the language I’m using. Why? Because language is so intertwined with the culture that you cannot learn one without the other. It is a beautiful experience!
It Opens Your Eyes
Speaking the language of the country gives us so much more insight into the inner-workings of the culture. Take slang for example. There are about 20 different ways to say “how are you” or “what’s up” in Spanish, depending on the region. By learning some phrases from each country, you get a glimpse of how the people think and interact with each other, which is something a textbook could never teach you.
6. It Offers You More Opportunities
Learning any foreign language can open the door to so many incredible opportunities. The moment you know a language, people start to depend on you for their communication needs. This makes you that much more valuable in the workplace, especially in this era of technology where everyone (no matter what language they speak) wants to stay connected.
Connect to More People
We are a global community, and as such, we need to find ways to bridge the communication gap. By speaking Spanish, you can connect with the 400 million native speakers or over 100 million people who speak Spanish as a second language. For me, connecting with people in Spanish and learning about their culture in their native language has been immensely rewarding. You will most definitely enjoy the experience, too!
Join a Community
The opportunities given to you by knowing a second language are endless. You can work abroad, go to school in a Spanish-speaking country, volunteer and truly connect with the community, and the list goes on. Learning Spanish is the perfect stepping block to building the future you want.
Build Your Future Now!
Alright. I’ve given you several great reasons to learn Spanish. Now go start learning! But, how, you ask? Search no more for a private tutor near you because here at Homeschool Spanish Academy, we offer 1-on-1, tailored classes online right in the comfort of your own home! Nothing beats having an experienced native Spanish speaker teach you the ins and outs of the language. Try a free trial class and start changing your future today!
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